Study: Vitamin B6 May Help Keep COVID-19 Cytokine Storms at Bay

Previous studies have explored the benefits of vitamins D and C, as well as minerals such as zinc and magnesium, in fortifying the immune response against COVID-19.

A new paper from food scientist Thanutchaporn Kumrungsee and her team explores the first step in the potential of vitamin B6 to lower the odds of patients becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, according to a press release.

Previous studies have explored the benefits of vitamins D and C, as well as minerals such as zinc and magnesium, in fortifying the immune response against COVID-19, according to the authors of the current study.

“In addition to washing your hands, food and nutrition are among the first lines of defense against COVID-19 virus infection. Food is our first medicine, and the kitchen is our first pharmacy,” said Kumrungsee, an associate professor at Hiroshima University’s Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Life, in a press release. “Recently, many scientists have published papers regarding the role of diets and nutrients in the protection against COVID-19. However, very few scientists are paying attention to the important role of vitamin B6.”

The paper highlights growing evidence showing that vitamin B6 exerts a protective effect against chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, by suppressing inflammation, inflammasomes, oxidative stress, and carbonyl stress.

“Coronaviruses and influenza are among the viruses that can cause lethal lung injuries and death from acute respiratory distress syndrome worldwide. Viral infections evoke a ‘cytokine storm,’ leading to lung capillary endothelial cell inflammation, neutrophil infiltration, and increased oxidative stress,” the study authors noted.

Kumrungsee noted that thrombosis, or blood clotting, and cytokine storm, also known as hyperinflammation, might be closely linked to the graveness of COVID-19. Cytokine storms happen when the immune system dangerously goes into overdrive and starts attacking even the healthy cells. Meanwhile, blood clots linked to COVID-19 can block capillaries, damaging vital organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.

Vitamin B6 is known as an anti-thrombosis and anti-inflammation nutrient. Deficiency in this vitamin is associated with lower immune function and higher susceptibility to viral infections, according to the study authors.

“Vitamin B6 has a close relationship with the immune system. Its levels always drop in people under chronic inflammation such as obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases. We can see from the news that obese and diabetic people are at high risk for COVID-19,” Kumrungsee said in a press release. “Thus, our attempt in this paper is to shed light on the possible involvement of vitamin B6 in decreasing the severity of COVID-19.”

Kumrungsee added that she is looking forward to clinical trials that would test their hypothesis.

“It is of great interest to examine if vitamin B6 exerts protection against novel types of virus infection and pneumonia which will be encountered in the future. At present, there is few information regarding the protective role of nutrients against pneumonia and lung diseases,” she said in a press release. “After COVID-19, we should develop the area of nutrition for lung diseases such as pneumonia and lung cancer.”

REFERENCE
Vitamin B6 may help keep COVID-19’s cytokine storms at bay. Hiroshima University. https://www.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/en/news/63197. Published February 26, 2021. Accessed March 1, 2021.